A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official MotoGP.com website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

Photos of the Mugen Shinden Ni sans Fairings

Given the competitive nature of the electric racing realm, its rare to see the big high-power bikes without their fairings, as teams are reluctant to reveal their secret sauce. Debuting the Mugen Shinden San this past weekend in Tokyo though, Team Mugen did just that, giving us a glimpse into the inner workings of the team’s 2013 race bike, the Mugen Shinden Ni. You don’t have to be an electron-head to get excited by these photos, as any race bike with a carbon fiber frame and swingarm is pretty drool-worthy, though the Shinden Ni’s carbon fiber battery enclosure does hide a great deal of the electric superbike’s geek factor. While the sheer size of the battery bike is impressive, it was expected when the Shinden was first announced.

Mugen Shinden San (神電 参) Electric Superbike Revealed

Mugen’s third purpose-built electric superbike for the Isle of Man TT, the Mugen Shinden San, has been revealed in Japan. Campaigning two machines for this year’s TT Zero race, Mugen has John McGuiness and Bruce Anstey at the helm of its “Shinden San” bikes, as the duo looks for a one-two finish in this year’s race. With MotoCzysz not racing at the Isle of Man this year, Mugen is a hot favorite to take the top podium spots, as well as crack the 110 mph barrier for electrics on the historic Snaefell Mountain Course (Mugen is targeting a 115 mph lap). An evolution on the company’s previous designs, the Shinden San fits 134hp — 10hp more than last year, thanks to a new smaller three-phase brushless motor provided by Mission Motors — into its 529lbs bulk.

Trackside Tuesday: The Winning Personality of Jack Miller

Chatting with a couple of NASCAR fans recently, I was reminded that any competition is boring if you don’t care who wins. But if you do care, then even cars driving around in circles can be very compelling entertainment. Those NASCAR fans really cared about how their favorite drivers finished, and not only how they finished in the latest race, but what and how those drivers were doing off the track as well. Those fans had been captured by the personalities of those drivers. One of the things NASCAR does well is sell personalities. All major sports-related businesses do this to some extent, but some organizations do it better than others.

IOMTT: Rutter Posts Unofficial TT Zero 100+ MPH Lap

06/04/2012 @ 9:24 am, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

IOMTT: Rutter Posts Unofficial TT Zero 100+ MPH Lap Michael Rutter MotoCzysz E1pc qualifying grid 635x425

With Sunday’s session cancelled on the account of rain, today’s combined practice/qualifying session for the 2012 SES TT Zero started under ideal conditions. With over 10 bikes starting from Glencrutchery Road, it was Michael Rutter on the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc who lead the field from the line to the finish — setting in the process the first 100+ mph lap for the electrics on the Mountain course, albeit unofficially.

Despite Rutter also posting a very impressive 153.200 mph trap speed at Sulby, for at least several more days the £10,000 bounty the Isle of Man government has put on the 100 mph barrier will stay in the island’s coffers, as the average lap speed has to be set during official timing, i.e. during a race lap.

Still, the news bodes well for the Segway MotoCzysz Racing Team , as Rutter’s pace shows good promise for tomorrow, and can only improve as the team refines its strategy. Splitting the two 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc race bikes was John McGuinness on the Mugen Shinden with his 96.953 mph lap, which just bested Mark Miller’s 94.812 mph lap.

With only six entries finishing the Mountain Course, a notable retirement came from Lightning Motorcycles, which just managed to get its bike together before the lap, having only a 70% charge in its batteries. John Burrows is reported to have retired the Lightning at Schoolhouse, not making it to the Sulby Straight.

Also notably absent from the finish was Gary Johnson on the Team Vercar Moto entry, which didn’t post a first checkpoint time at Glen Helen. With the weather looking unpredictable, Wednesday’s race could possibly be rescheduled for Thursday. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for updates on that and other TT Zero & Isle of Man TT news.

Photo: © 2012 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. Kyle G says:

    Nice work, I heard on the radio that Rutter had to push it up pit lane. Can you confirm this? Anyways it looks like the teams all started out a little bit too quickly this year.

  2. Yeah, he was coasting over the line as well.

  3. dp says:

    I heard his dashboard went out, so he had to guess on battery power.

  4. Casey Palmer says:

    Sometimes I just Love my job…… We’re gonna make it official raceday by breaking the 100mph. Thanks for all the good vibes everybody.

  5. Colin says:

    How did miller achieve a 94.8 lap when coasting so far behind the shinden and crawling over the line? Surely this is not right?

  6. ray says:

    @ Casey Palmer & Courtney S., David B., Matt B., Dalton P., Jonathan D., Ian D., Matt G., Leon A. – Wish you all could be in IOM with us! Your hard work is paying dividends. Watching Mark Miller and Michael Rutter blast off from the start line was epic. Hopefully both of them will “officially” decimate the 100 mph lap average on Wednesday!

  7. Amazing achievement even unofficially.

    And a *big* thumbs up to Jensen for covering TT Zero for us unable to go. We are hanging on every post, man.

    - Amarok

  8. Jonathan Dean says:

    Congrats fellas, Lets bring home some trophies!

  9. Andrew Culpepper says:

    Snoooze

  10. tom z says:

    I really wish there was a reply function on this message board.

    @Andrew Culpepper, snooze? How much have you contributed to this sport? Oh, nothing? Thats what I thought.

  11. Andrew Culpepper says:

    Nothing but a lot of money over the last 35 years. I don’t get the whole electric bike racing thing. If you want to save energy or reduce emissions, don’t race. I’d rather see coal powered bikes circling the track (that’s where most of the electric power comes from in the USA).

    Silent, odorless racebikes do not interest me. Am I allowed to say that on this forum? I’ll shut up if not.

  12. jp182 says:

    Andrew you can say whatever you like!

    I’m not sure why you would read an article that says TT ZERO in the title if you don’t think electric powered bikes should race but….

  13. Andrew Culpepper says:

    Ok. I’m going to finish watching the 2011 IOMTT Review DVD before the the 2012 is done. :-)

  14. Kyle G says:

    We race because it is the quickest way to progress a technology. Any weak link or poor design will be spotted immediately and you can easily fix that problem on that single machine. This refined technology will someday develop into a safe machine that can reliably perform for a customer. Racing is where the technological risks are taken because the only limitation is that of yourself and your rider. Racing also brings excitement and exposure to a market that otherwise wouldn’t have it, gas or electric.

    And the truth is racing an electric motorcycle does save energy and emissions, even when compared to your commute to work in/on a gasoline powered car or motorcycle…

  15. dp says:

    “Andrew Culpepper says:
    June 4, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    Nothing but a lot of money over the last 35 years. I don’t get the whole electric bike racing thing. If you want to save energy or reduce emissions, don’t race. I’d rather see coal powered bikes circling the track (that’s where most of the electric power comes from in the USA).”

    Some of us own electric bikes. I have over 700 days on mine. It’s lots of fun. I live in an area where the vast majority of electric power does not come from coal but hydro dams.

    Why should I have a gas powered motorcycle when my region is rich in electricity?

  16. AndrewF says:

    I loved that statement, ‘with over 10 bikes starting from Glencrutchery Road’… why, did someone run out of their fingers at 10 ? :)

  17. Westward says:

    GO M0T0Czysz..!

  18. Everett says:

    Ray (with link back to MotoCzyz) is that you of formerly Adams Ave Bikes in SD, CA?

    I heard you left the Big Red D and went back to MC. Sick. And on the whole radness of electric bike racing.

  19. ray says:

    yes, everette. sorry for the late reply. just got home ;)